James Bleakley of Black Sheep Bikes has been busying himself with the creation of more custom titanium componentry, focusing most recently on the cockpit. For those not familiar with Bleakley’s work, it’s pertinent to mention that he is a lauded custom frame builder, highly admired by those in the hand-built bicycle community, particularly in Colorado where he began his (so far) 30-year career and where it continues to play out. Best known for his custom titanium framesets with beautiful, functional curved tubing, James has also been known to weld up forks and handlebars, all to his customers’ exacting geometrical requirements.
Here, we take a look at his most recent custom creation; the Black Sheep Titanium One-Piece Drop Bar-Stem Combo.
All photos courtesy of Josh Hicks.
Black Sheep Bikes Titanium One-Piece Bar-Stem Combos
Almost everything about Black Sheep Bikes’ latest Ti handlebar offering is customizable, from the width at the tops, the width at the drops, reach, rise, run, as well as the angle of the drops relative to the ground. The only aspect not customizable is the bend in the hooks and their centerline radius. A drop of 128mm is standard, but adding flare reduces the effective drop.
From a purely functional point of view, it’s the front brace or loop that catches our attention. James says this aspect isn’t necessary from a structural standpoint, but it is highly recommended as it offers the rider sufficient real estate for the mounting of a GPS computer, phone or light, but probably not more than one of those at any one time unless you have something terribly fancy.
James currently offers three main types of brace to connect the left and right sides of the one-piece bar-stem, but is open to considering alternate designs should his customers present something viable. The shallow brace is the most common style, but the longer, forward loop that is angled slightly upwards offers more space for more mounts.
There is also the Black Sheep Clark Bar Brace, a one-piece bar-stem combo designed specifically to accomodate a Clark Bar within the central region, as well as three or more mounts. It has the same shape at the hooks but shallower radius bends in the rise/run portion to allow for the bigger bar bag. Incidentally, the Clark Bar Bag has capacity for up to three beers.
You can learn more about James Bleakley and Black Sheep Bikes here in our interview, where he tells us all about how he got into frame building, and how he has helped foster a growing community of custom frame builders in and around Boulder, Colorado.
Pricing & Availability
As of now, the cost for a Black Sheep Bikes custom titanium one-piece bar-stem combo is $700 USD but that’s subject to change as material pricing fluctuates.